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Kevin LeBlanc wrote to J.R.R. Tolkein, author of The Hobbit.
Dear J.R.R. Tolkein,
“Little things can make a big difference.” I have heard that all of my life, but it wasnít until I read The Hobbit and then later The Lord of the Rings Trilogy that I fully understood or even believed it to be true.
Like Frodo and Bilbo, I am small in stature. I am one of those kids that the other kids at school look down on. Iím always one of the last ones picked to be on someoneís team in sports. But although Iím small, I am strong and I know how to use my brain. Your books show me that regardless of my size I can make an important difference in the world. I understand that the world is a dangerous and often violent place. War and rumors of war are always occurring somewhere in the world. No matter how safe and sheltered you believe you and your world are, danger is always present. People must be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.
The world can be very intimidating, especially to small beings. I once was lost in a shopping mall and felt like a very small speck in a huge universe. It was very easy for me to sympathize with Frodo and Sam when they lost their way on the way to Mordor and ended up going in circles. Just like Sam was afraid to trust Gollum, I feared trusting anyone I didnít know to help me find my family.
I think your books intrigue me because I often feel my life lacks adventures. Just like the hobbits, I live in a small agricultural community much like Frodo and Bilboís Shire. In fact, shire is part of the name of my community, Hamshire. Just as trouble eventually invaded the Shire, trouble also invaded my home. In 2005, 2007, and again in 2008, hurricanes ripped through our area carving a path of death and total destruction. Nature and the land itself suffered such devastation that it will be many, many years before it will be able to sustain life. Crops canít grow in soil that has been made toxic from salt water and the many chemicals that flooded acres and acres of farmland. Since plants canít grow, much wildlife has lots its habitat and domesticated farm animals have nothing to graze on. In addition, thousands lost their lives, families, homes and livelihood.
When reading your books, I feel that I am able to experience what your characters are feeling as they go through all their trials and tribulations. The events in your books also help to cheer me and remind me that some day the devastation of my home will fade and become a memory. But part of that memory will be that even though small, I survived and if Iím ever faced with troubled times or circumstances such as these again, I have the strength and wherewithal to survive.
I hope that everyone reading your books discovers that size doesnít have to be an obstacle. No matter how big or small, everyone can go into the world and make a difference if they only have the courage to try to do the right thing. The difference could be small or it may be profound, but no matter what the size, it all helps in the long run.
© The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. (Used by permission.)